Julie Plec talks about what you should know about Nina Dobrev leaving The Vampire Diaries!
Executive producer Julie Plec tells how she wrote Nina off the show, what her final days on the TVD set was like, and where The Vampire Diaries goes without Elena. Although she was sad to see her “little sister” go, she was excited to deal with the challenges of finishing Elena’s journey.
Instead of killing her off, or letting her leave, she devised an intricate multi-episode arc ending with new witch-vampire hybrid Kai binding Elena’s life force with her BFF Bonnie Bennett. If and when Bonnie dies, Elena lives. Until then, Damon’s love will lie in a coffin, not aging, inside the Salvatore family crypt.
Julie revealed Nina’s leaving was bittersweet. She was an actress, a character, and a friend after six years. She remembers her 21st birthday in Vegas, and has seen her go through so much. It’s sad knowing that it’s now done.
Massive hurdles like this helps keep “your brain sharp.” She said this is something they talked about, so they were prepared when they found out she was really leaving, but emotionally it was a bummer. Nina didn’t ask for any specific scene being her last, and because of casting availability and Atlanta weather it ended up being close-ups of Damon and Elena in the final moments of the show, so it all worked out beautifully.
Julie said the last day on-set was twice as emotional since it was also the last day for Michael Trevino. Everybody exchanged gifts and they “attacked Nina with a kiddie pool filled with whipped cream and streamers and confetti.” She revealed that the day they filmed the feather scene, it was so beautiful that everybody started crying. It hit all the girls at the same time that it was their last scene together. As she said, “It was a great day for Kleenex,” especially since the tears in the scene were real!
Although she thinks Nina would have liked Elena to die, there was no way the writers would do it, “[I] just didn’t feel right.” Since they didn’t think the other characters could recover from her death, especially Damon, it was definitely “off the table.”
So they had to come up with an exit that felt permanent. They didn’t want the fans to cling to the hope that Elena would somehow show up when season 7 returns. So they had to come up with something permanent that didn’t involve killing her, yet that was emotional and let everybody be able to continue with their lives as if there was still hope for the future. So they came up with what they called a “Sleeping Beauty spell.”
They had 10 scenarios, in case Nina changed her mind about coming back, all of which revolved around the sleeping spell. One was planned to carry into season 7, but when it became clear she was leaving, they made it the season 6 finale, “Which turned out great,” she said.
Since Elena’s life depends on Bonnie, it’s job security for Kat Graham! She’s grown as an actress, from not knowing what a mark was to becoming a valuable asset to the series. This season they also wanted to start working on the Stefan-Caroline storyline.
After Klaus left, they wanted to dig into Caroline’s character more, which is why they gave her mom cancer, turned her humanity off, and temporarily have a relationship with Stefan. As for that letter from her mom, they’re planning on addressing that in season 7, “Because I want to know what it said too!” She also wants to know what Jo’s vows were.
Elena’s journey this season was about letting Damon and Elena be happy. In the finale the most important scene was between Stefan and Caroline, telling her he needed Damon more than Elena. She confessed she’s always shipped Team Salvatore, but she loved Stefan and Elena together and loved Damon and Elena “because I loved watching it build over time, and I love what it meant to Damon as a character to have that epic fairy tale that so many people connected to.” But the bottom line is the story between Stefan and Damon, which she believes has always been the heart of the series.
Julie Plec on Damon falling in love again
Damon is not falling out of love anytime soon. He’s not going to look at another girl sideways anytime soon. And I think there’s a lot of fun to be had with Damon, the hottest vampire in town, being like, Ladies, back off. I’m a taken man. I think there’s as much fun to be had in him avoiding women as there is in him indulging in women. I think we’ll honor their pledge for the future.
With Jo and their babies being killed as they were getting married, Julie hinted that season 7’s big bad may be Alaric.
The only new characters will be the old characters of Lily’s nasty, messy, hilarious, perverse, chaos-makers “family” that Kai brought back. Julie said they remind her a bit of the Original family. “[T]hey all have their own distinct personalities, they all have their own ability to be just completely disgusting creatures, but they’re interestingly and fascinatingly relatable as well. I would think that any gaps or need for new characters would be filled via them – more than getting another cute girl with long brown hair.”
The flash-forward at the end of the season 6 finale will be explained next season. Perhaps Mystic Falls being abandoned was because of Lily’s heretics. Julie said they’ll “explain, return to,” and “move beyond” it. Next season will be exploring more flash-forwards and also stay in the present. She can’t really say how far in the future they may jump because they haven’t “written it yet.”
Julie did reveal that the season finale flash-forward had a trick attached to it, and the other flash-forwards will be a couple of years into the future.
As for the future, she said they already have the first half of season 7 marked out with a somewhat big mythology for the season that will launch season 8. She said they’re really excited and the actors are “jazzed” about the suspense, tension, folklore, vampire drama, and mystery they’ll be exploring.
Julie feels that as long as there are stories to tell that feel fresh, and the actors and crew want to continue, she doesn’t see any reason why the series can’t continue for quite a few more years. Supernatural is going into it’s 11th season.
Julie on the future of The Vampire Diaries
If people stop watching because they don’t like the show without Elena, or they don’t like it without another character that may leave eventually, then we’ll all reassess, because I also don’t want to go out limping. Everyone is going to have their say about the creative strength of the show moving forward, but as long as we feel like what we’re doing is good and our bosses feel like we’re doing good work and the feedback we get from fans is that we’re doing good work, then there’s no reason to stop doing good work.
Season 7 of The Vampire Diaries will return in October, 2015.
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